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Getting a Job in the Mineral Industry

This site provides links to mineral industry job recruiting web sites, selected mineral industry corporate and government web sites, and economic geology-oriented societies, as well as e-mail contacts for recent graduates or graduate students advised by our faculty that are currently employed in the minerals industry.

The minerals industry is currently in a boom period after 10-15 years of depressed metals prices. Historically high base- and precious-metals prices are currently driving an increase in mineral exploration. These high prices are currently being driven by the increasing demands for metals and mineral products in rapidly developing Asian nations. As well, exploration techniques to find “blind” deposits (mineral deposits that occur at depth in the earth) have not kept pace with the needs for finding new, major deposits or mineral deposit districts.

The minerals industry is a major employer of geologists and geoscientists (e.g. geochemists, geophysicists). Careers in the mineral industry require exceptional knowledge in a wide range of geological disciplines including mineralogy, petrology (igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic), geochemistry, geophysics, sedimentology and stratigraphy, structural geology, tectonics and volcanology. Superb hand sample mineral and rock identification skills, excellent mapping techniques (at scales ranging from extremely detailed (e.g. 1:100 scale) to regional (1:1,000,000 scale)) and drill core logging techniques, knowledge of geographic information systems (GIS), excellent computer applications skills, a desire to keep current with the geological literature, the ability to travel and work effectively in remote areas, and exceptional people skills are absolute requirements to become an effective and successful economic geologist.

Our recent graduates working in the minerals industry have reported that this industry is currently very actively recruiting and hiring geology majors for contract and full time employment in mineral exploration and mining geologist positions. Most geologists graduating with BS degrees seeking work in the minerals industry should expect to work on a contract basis for at least one to two years before being offered a permanent position. Most permanent position economic geologists have advanced degrees (M.S. or Ph. D). Presently, the minerals industry is literally “starving” for geologist that have excellent field mapping and rock/mineral identification skills…the lack of graduating geologist with sufficient skills in these areas in is in large part due to current educational trends in the geological sciences which emphasize lab-based learning over field based learning (see Richard Sillitoe’s SEG Presidential Perspective titled “Field Skills in Exploration” published in the Society of Economic Geologists Newsletter, No. 38, July 1999, p. 4). Additionally, opportunities for undergraduate students to obtain additional field skills via summer jobs with mineral exploration companies have not generally been available over the past 15 years due to the former poor state of the mineral commodities markets and associated low metal prices.

Comments on working in the mining and mineral industry can be found on the following link.

Selected UW Oshkosh Geology alumni working in the mineral industry.
Please feel free to contact with your questions about employment in the mineral industry.

Heidi Drexler, Consulting Geologist

Adam Hoffman, Mine Geologist, Newmont Gold

Jason Odette, Exploration Geologist, BHP-Biliton

Dr. Steve Osterberg, Consulting Geologist

Andrew Turner, Geologist, OMYA California/OMYA Arizona, Inc.

Jordan Wilson, Consulting Geologist

Christopher J. Van Treeck, Senior Geologist, Avalon Development Corporation

Major mineral industry recruiting web sites

earthworks-jobs.com

Jobs in Geology and Earth Science

Mining Jobs in the US

Mining Life

Northern Miner Jobs

Science Careers

Selected Mineral Industry Corporate Sites / Government Sites

Barrick

BHP-Billiton

Doe Run Company

Golder

Inco

Kennecott Minerals

Newmont

Phelps-Dodge

Polymet

Teck-Cominco

United States Geological Survey

Xstrata

Selected Economic Geology Societies

Society of Economic Geologists

Society of Exploration Geoscientists